Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Daredevil #13 - Marvel Comics

DAREDEVIL No. 13, April 2015
Whilst a storyline based upon some nemesis of a comic book’s titular character seeking revenge upon the superhero’s friends and family is not a new one, nor indeed a narrative exploring the paranoia of some costumed crimefighter as they fear for the safety of their loved ones. Mark Waid’s script for Issue Thirteen of “Daredevil” is somewhat surprisingly refreshing in that it additionally deals with the possibility that Matt Murdock’s ‘sweetheart’ Kirsten McDuffie may actually have an enemy of her own as a result of being a former assistant district attorney; “Do you know what this means? I have my own arch-foe! My! Own!”

Unfortunately for this magazine’s 31,483 readers however the revelation that the Lilac Murderer is the prosecutor’s “grudgemate” is not actually revealed until near the very end of the twenty-page periodical. Something which disappointingly means any perusing bibliophiles must first wade through a series of nauseating scenes which depict a rather disagreeable ‘Hornhead’ at his most insecure and argumentative. In fact the blind lawyer’s self-righteous quarrel with long-time friend Foggy Nelson about how Kirsten is ‘little more’ than “a supporting player in the adventures of Daredevil” shows ‘The Man Without Fear’ at his very worst, especially when he also accuses his sick ex-partner of being jealous of his relationship with the woman because she’s “loopy for you.”

Luckily the Eisner Award-winning writer doesn’t exclusively focus upon this rather dislikeable opinionated super-hero for too long, and by this publication’s mid-way point has finally got Murdock donning his famous all-red costume and leaping from rooftop to rooftop across the San Francisco skyline in an effort to locate his missing beloved and her abductor. Daredevil’s subsequent investigation into McDuffie’s disappearance at her regular Coffee Shop is compelling stuff and the added edge that this time the victim is close to his heart makes the suspense all the more pulse-pounding.

For once the Alabama-born author also doesn’t depict the vigilante relying solely upon his highly developed sonar ability either. But instead portrays Murdock as being every bit the detective as some of his comic book contemporaries, as he uses his sense of smell to realise that the assailant never left the eatery because otherwise “this alley would reek of knockout gas” and actually escaped via a hidden basement entrance into the sewers.

Equally as enjoyable as Matt's 'masterclass' in deductive reasoning is the welcome return of Max Coleridge as the anti-heroic Shroud. "San Francisco's proto-daredevil, if you will" adds a much needed uneasiness to Waid's storytelling and the magazine's abrupt cliffhanger that Steve Englehart's co-creation has allied himself to a sinisterly youthful-looking Owl proves a fittingly dramatic conclusion to a deepeningly dark read.
Storytellers: Mark Waid & Chris Samnee, and Colorist: Matthew Wilson

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